Category Archives: Magnolia

Flirting

Dearest WordPress friends,

We have an open and generous relationship, so I know you won’t mind if I let you in on my latest dalliance. You see, I have neglected you shamefully because I am  flirting with You Tube. It’s an innocent enough flirtation but I am rather shy about  admitting to it.  It seems a bit silly  flirting with You Tube in my older years.  ( And probably making a fool of myself in the process. 😀 )

If you would like to see what we’ve been up to, You Tube and I, come on over to Gallivanta H.  You may find something to make you smile; like this

And, don’t worry,  as much as my flirtatious fling with You Tube is fun, my heart belongs to my WordPress family. 🙂  I am not planning to desert you.

Your friend in blogging,

Gallivanta.

Warning:  you may find ads on some of my You Tube videos.

 

On a more sensible note, I am trying out You Tube because I am curious to see how it works, particularly in terms of monetization. And I am keen to see how I cope with the challenge of making videos.  At the moment I find the process difficult, and my admiration has grown, in leaps and bounds, for those who make beautiful, skillful videos. Lens caps off to them.

 

© silkannthreades

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An artist-in-residence

I have an artist- in – residence?  Do you?

As a way of bringing a lighter, brighter look to my house, I have let her creative spirit have free rein in my domain.  There are new paintings everywhere.  And some of her old ones, too.

They make me smile. They remind me that spring is nearly here; that the magnolia is about to bloom again. They remind me that my dreary, old soul will soon be revived by  longer hours of daylight;  longer hours of sunshine.

Here’s a look at some of my artist’s work. Do you know who she is? If you are long time reader of this blog, you have met her before.  Of course, she isn’t physically in residence, but what fun it would be if she really were.

The little girl in me

The little girl in me

Portrait of Gallivanta's Magnolia

Portrait of Gallivanta’s Magnolia

More Magnolias

More Magnolias

Just the two of us

Just the two of us

Dog in residence

Dog in residence

Jack, the perfect artist's model-in-residence

Jack, the perfect artist’s model-in-residence

I haven’t taken photos for a while. I am out of practice. It shows.  I think I need a photographer-in-residence!

 

 

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

Unexpected places

I have been absent from my blog, as well as your blogs, for some time.

I am spring cleaning heart and home~

oh, and the computer files, too, where I found the first WordPress post I wrote, almost three years ago. I did not publish it at the time  but, considering the topic, now seems the right moment to  give it an airing.

2012

“This year, in August 2012, we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  The weather was perfect and the magnolias were in full bloom. ”

Magnolia Time

Magnolia Time 2012

2015

Next week, we will mark our 33rd wedding anniversary. Hopefully the weather will be perfect again and the magnolias will be as beautiful as they were today.

Magnolia ` at home, August 2015

Magnolia, in soft focus, at home, August 2015

When I was a child I imagined  ( a little) what marriage might mean for me. However, even in my wildest, most outlandish imaginings, I did not foresee an hilariously unconventional wedding in Botswana,

Cutting the Cake, 1982

Cutting the Cake, 1982

and a future 33 years later in New Zealand.

Life and marriage take us to some odd and unexpected places, as some  millions of  users of Ashley Madison are suddenly figuring out. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/ashley-madison-life-on-the-internet-after-the-adultery-website-hack-will-never-be-the-same-10464950.html  Whilst the number of people searching for affairs is disturbing in itself, also disturbing ( to my mind) is the small group of email addresses linked to New Zealand Government agencies responsible for confidential, private files. If the addresses prove genuine, then I will be worried about our Government’s ability to employ people who are a) honest and b) sensible enough to protect the  personal data we, the citizens, are  constantly obliged to offer the Government.  ( And, of course, in addition  to my  concerns, I am feeling sad for all the innocent people and families caught up in this debacle. )

Whether in a relationship or not, may your days be blessed.

 

© silkannthreades

Hear our voices

Bethan at  the House of Bethan is moving house, in a virtual sense, and talks of closing doors and saying farewell to important rooms in our lives.

With her words on my mind, I decided to close the door on my birthday season with a photo of the birthday card that  Megan chose for me. It’s delightful and reminds me of the happiness that Megan is experiencing now she can be outdoors enjoying the beauty of Bloomington. Her winter room time is over.

Blossoms from Bloomington

Blossoms from Bloomington

And, in a really large segue, Megan’s card leads me into my next section, which is a celebration of New Zealand Music Month .  How, you may ask, shaking your heads in bewilderment? Well, Bloomington, home of Megan, has some lovely connections with New Zealanders and their love of music.

For instance; there’s New Zealand born Matthew Leese, baritone and conductor, who earned his  Master of Music degree in Early Music from  Indiana University in Bloomington.

And, then, there is New Zealander Michael Duff who works in Bloomington  and is ‘saving’ the world of music and the Music Tree  (the pernambuco), one Berg Bow at a time.

And, then, comes the annual  Lotus World Music and Arts Festival which is held in downtown Bloomington and, last year, featured the  Pacific Curls  ;  ‘ the high energy trio of Kim Halliday, Ora Barlow, and Jessie Hindin ( who deliver) an eclectic and progressive mix of world roots music with Māori, Pacific and Celtic influences.’

Closer to home, as in closer to my home in Christchurch, there is performer and teacher Valerie Wycoff who has a Master of Music in Opera Performance from Indiana University , and who has been educating our young ones at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) for over 10 years.

And I am sure there are many more of us in New Zealand who have associations with, or have benefited from, the music, theatre and performance that are nurtured in Bloomington, Indiana.

Perhaps, one day, Bloomington will host some of the fine  singers who participated last year at the  New Zealand Secondary Schools’  The Big Sing.

I love this piece by Dilworth’s Fortissimo at The Big Sing. It thrills my heart.

I don’t have a translation for the song but I don’t think that  matters. The language of song and music seems to be universal, with very few barriers; it opens more doors than it closes.

So welcome, come on in and listen:

listen to this non-New Zealand choir, at Slovakia Cantat 2012, singing the beautiful Maori song,  Nga Iwi E, by  Hirini Melbourne. This song  begins All you people! All you people! Be united as one, like the Pacific Ocean

(Nga Iwi E was apparently adopted by Greenpeace and sung on board the Rainbow Warrior during its protest against French Nuclear Testing at Mururoa Atoll.  Maybe we can sing it next for the pernambuco 🙂 )

 

 

 

 

 

© silkannthreades

Floral Prints

This day began with visions…of loveliness. The first vision came from the words of  William Wordsworth in his sonnet “Composed upon Westminster Bridge”.  Whilst London is far, far from me, the lines

“This city now doth, like a garment, wear the

The beauty of the morning;  “

were a perfect description of the loveliness of my garden, bathed in morning light. Not my entire garden, really, but the focus of my second vision, the Michelia tree.http://www.wairere.co.nz/Trees_Evergreen/Michelia  Yesterday, I didn’t believe the tree could look and smell any more beautiful than it did, but I was wrong. For, today, it is  beyond sublime and I can scarcely take my gaze from it.

Michelia, wearing the Morning Light

Michelia, wearing the Morning Light

My photos don’t do the vision justice but, perhaps, they will give you the smallest glimpse of what is before my eyes…. (the captions are taken from Composed Upon Westminster Bridge)

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Now, as I looked at the Michelia, all arrayed in white blossom, I began to think of a conversation I had with Annie at http://forestsogreen.wordpress.com/.   She commented about the floral print dress, worn by Grandmother, in my previous post here:  ” My grandmother also wore those dresses made of fabric with flowers :) ” said Annie. To which I replied, “Yes, Annie! Looking at the photo, I remembered so clearly those flower print dresses. My grandmother also had her flower print dress for morning when she did most of her household work and cooking and, then, in the afternoon, she wore a nicer, better flower print dress. She didn’t flop around in her pyjamas like her lazy grandaughter!!!!”  And, then, from my thoughts came laughter and love because, suddenly, my beautiful Michelia became a living, visionary version of my Nana’s  floral print morning dress. And, of the days, when we took our garden bouquets and imprinted them on the fabric of our daily lives; our house dresses and our aprons and our dresses for “best” .

Enough of the fanciful. Let me return to the  practical. My good  blogger friend at http://ordinarygood.wordpress.com/  told me that the soft fuzzy bud cover on magnolia and Michelia blooms is known as a perule. Such a pretty and perfect word for them. These last two photos are for her.

© silkannthreades

Heavenly Again

We visited the University of Canterbury Staff Club and University Gardens this afternoon. The Staff Club, Ilam Homestead, was damaged in our recent earthquakes but, happily,  it is now  repaired and in use again. We have lost so many  heritage buildings in our city that it is heavenly to see this one, once more complete and seemingly unchanged, in its beautiful garden setting.

Fine and upstanding

Fine and upstanding

The gardens are at their finest in late October, when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in full bloom. But, today, we were scouting for daffodils…and found a few…

and also wanting to see the Staff Club, free of the containers and scaffolding that have supported it during months of repairs.

Revived and unencumbered

Revived and unencumbered

And, besides, it was our 31st wedding anniversary and our 35th year of friendship, and, being in these lovely University surroundings, was a reminder of another special and cherished time and place; Oxford University.

That is where we met. When we had free time we strolled in the beautiful University Parks which were walking distance from our base at Queen Elizabeth House. http://www.parks.ox.ac.uk/gallery/index.htm

The University Parks are young by Oxford standards. Interestingly, their development began at much the same time as that of Ilam Homestead, that is, in the early 1850s.  The University of Canterbury bought Ilam Homestead in 1950 after it had been owned for many years by Edgar Stead. It was Edgar Stead who established the beautiful, surrounding gardens and filled them with his world famous rhododendron and  azalea collection.

World famous rhododendrons and azaleas

World famous rhododendrons and azaleas

Stead was also a renowned ornithologist  http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/4s41/stead-edgar-fraser  When the University of Canterbury bought the Homestead, it agreed to maintain the Gardens in perpetuity, and its commitment to that agreement means joy and delight for thousands of visitors and passing students each year. And, of course, it is a delight to birds, too, Today, I am sure I heard and saw several of our large, native wood pigeons (kereru). I was hoping to also see ducklings, but I was disappointed in that regard.

Now, as every connoisseur of Oxford knows, a good University must have intrigue and mystery as well as perfect scenery and splendid buildings. Remember Lewis here and Inspector Morse, here ? Our small University, and our University Staff Club (Ilam Homestead) do not disappoint.

For Ilam Homestead was, in one of its lifetimes, home to the Rector of the University, or Canterbury College as it was once known. In 1954 the Rector was Dr Hulme, and his daughter was young Juliet.  At the age of 15,  Juliet was best friends with young Pauline , and, together, they conspired and carried out the murder of Pauline’s mother at a place in Christchurch called Victoria Park. Their reasons were…complicated, perhaps, incomprehensible ; their trial, sensational or should that be scandalous?  Whatever, it was or wasn’t, the infamous Parker-Hulme case became a film, in 1994, called ‘Heavenly Creatures’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavenly_Creatures much of which was filmed at the Homestead and in the gardens. And, from that film and that place and  those times, 1954 and 1994,  we now have some  rich, new traditions and stories; for those events became building blocks and landmarks for Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Kate Winslet and Melanie  Lynskey and Anne Perry;  most particularly Anne Perry, Anne Perry the writer

And, thus are our lives (and marriages/partnerships), like buildings and fine gardens,  constructed, and deconstructed and restructured, and, occasionally, in the process, that which is heavenly appears and sits with us for a time.

A few more photos:

That which is constructed and restructured and gives us foundations and rooms and cornerstones and secret spaces for our memories;

That which is heavenly, if but briefly.

For more history http://www.staffclub.canterbury.ac.nz/history.shtml

http://www.ilamhomestead.co.nz/heavenly-creatures.htm

© silkannthreades

I’m not the only bird

Recently, a few people have asked me if I collect anything, and I have answered, ” Not really.”  Which is true. I don’t have collections in a proper, formal sense, as, say, a stamp collector would. However, after my chocolate exorcism en plein air, Spring Equilibrium I came home with a mind full of fresh air, and  fresh thoughts, and realised that I am not the only “bird” in my home. I live with a flock of them. For, unwittingly, I have been collecting birds for years; birds in all forms, except live. In fact, if my birds were living ones, I would be obliged to apply for a licence to operate an aviary.  That’s how many I own.

Take a peek at some of many feathered friends.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather

I don’t know when I started collecting birds but one of my first bird purchases was a book, Birds of Fiji in Colour by W.J. Belcher. It was published in 1972, but the bird studies were painted between 1924 and 1935.( And, yes, our amazing  friends at Amazon still have the book http://www.amazon.com/Birds-Fiji-Colour-W-J-Belcher/dp/B000RH91NS)

Birds by Belcher

Birds by Belcher

William Belcher was born in England in 1883. He came to New Zealand at the age of three and spent the earlier part of his life here before moving to Fiji. He was mostly a self-taught artist  and he painted orchids as well as birds. And, he was not only a painter but a hotel licensee, money-lender, shooting gallery owner and a mechanic, as well. He died, and was buried, in Suva, Fiji in 1949. His collected works are owned by the Fiji Museum.

Birds of Fiji features 25 of Belcher’s paintings. I have selected two for my collage because they represent  very precious memories I have from  my amateurish, youthful bird watching. The illustrations are of the White Collared Kingfisher, Halcyon chloris, and the Blue Reef Heron , Demigretta sacra, or in Fijian, Belo. The White Collared Kingfisher was painted in 1931.There is no date for the Reef Heron.

Kingfisher and Heron

Kingfisher and Heron

I will finish with an observation attributed to William Belcher which is recorded in the Introduction to  Birds of Fiji ” He believed that most people saw only what they wanted to avoid bumping into, whereas only the odd person discovered form and shape.”  Rather apt considering how long it has taken me to realise that I collect birds 🙂 and not just ‘things’ to dust.

My special Penguin

My special Penguin

© silkannthreades